Want to learn French? Understand your learning style
The answer is simpler than you may think. It’s your learning style. What’s a learning style you say?
A learning style is the way we break up, process and remember information.1
So to help you understand what these different learning styles mean and how they can help you learn French, we’ve put together this guide.
If you’re a visual learner you thrive off images, colours, maps and diagrams. Seeing what you’re learning makes it easier to understand.
How to teach visual learners French:
- Reading the French language is great: you can see the words and understand how they work in the sentence.
- Labelling items in a picture is also a great memory tool.
- Reading children’s books and comics, or les bandes dessinées, helps you associate words and sentences with images. Who doesn’t love a bit of Asterix every now and again?
- Drawing mind maps can help when you’re trying to memorise vocabulary. A colour-coding system may also help you to remember different categories.
If you’re an aural learner then listening is a great way to learn the French language and all of its nuances.
How to teach an aural learner French:
- Learning songs is an easy way for you to memorise words and phrases.
- Watching movies enables you to hear new words in context and get a feel for sentence structure. As an added bonus you’ll get a good grasp on correct pronunciation.
- Listening to audio books and French music is another way you can improve pronunciation without having to learn the linguistic ‘rules’. Show me one aural learner who doesn’t love being read to.
If you’re a verbal learner you’re lucky because they say the best way to learn a language is by speaking it.
How to teach a verbal learner French:
- You thrive off conversation; using the new information you’ve just learnt in context helps you practice and improve your pronunciation.
- Learning songs in French can be an excellent way to retain vocabulary.
- Making speeches and presentations is also a fantastic exercise for you verbal learners.
Often referred to as ‘doers,’ physical or kinaesthetic learners work best with movement. Actions help you absorb and remember new information.
How to teach a physical learner French:
- Try dancing or playing games with kinaesthetic people, as this helps them actively retain new information. Whilst playing you can give instructions in French or work in questions and answers.
- As kinaesthetic learners you may also profit from the Accelerated Integrated Methodology (AIM) Language Learning method. AIM associates words with actions, helping kids remember words and their meanings.
- Other hands on activities such as cooking, can also be a great learning tool. Try using a recipe in French and build vocabulary by labelling all utensils and ingredients in French too.
If you’re a logical learner you like to find patterns and use reason to justify answers. You group new information, finding categories among topics and ordering any newfound knowledge
How to teach a logical learner French:
- Logical learners need to understand the reasons behind what they are learning. Keep this in mind when you’re learning grammar. Once you understand the different tenses and reasons why verbs are conjugated in a certain way, you may see patterns emerge.
- To help logical learners in a class setting teachers can pick a category (i.e. les fruits) then ask students to list as many fruits they can name in French. Once they have finished you can add more to the list as a group and students can save these lists for future vocabulary.
- Try activities that order and categorise. Using mind maps, flow charts, and tables can help you logical learners to group information and help you remember new words or grammar.
Social learners work well with others and enjoy bouncing ideas around.
How to teach a social learner French:
- Speaking French in a group setting allows you to hear new words, phrases and sentence structures. Try organising group conversations on a specific topic or just let the students have a chat in French. My French Life™ run French conversation groups in Melbourne, and have regular events in Paris, which attract many social learners.
- Social learning is best combined with other learning styles, for example working in groups to produce a mind map. This process allows you to speak in French, draw out a mind map, form lists and visualise the end result.
As a solitary learner you work best on your own. You like to process information from start to end, coming to conclusions independently.
You may feel distracted in group situations which can make it hard to understand and/or remember what you have just learnt.
How to teach a solitary learner French:
- You like to work on your own and in your other preferred learning style be that auditory, visual or any of the others. To keep a class happy and encourage solitary learning teachers can produce a list of projects for the class with one or two for each learning style. Then each student can choose an activity that best suits them.
- Teachers can also provide solitary learners with some structure but allow them to work through the lessons on their own – unless of course they ask for help.
Making learning the French language fun
Bethany United Auchettl is a French linguist and teacher who learnt the importance of making learning fun whilst working for LCF (le club français).
“Through the magic of games, songs, worksheets, art projects, and role-playing, children discover just how much fun learning a language can be,” she says.
She explains that learning a second language as a child often makes the process easier. “Indeed, childhood has been proven to be the best time for a person to learn a second language – in addition to being one of the easiest times to simply learn another language, studies show that it actually enhances mental development.”
Programs like Little Pim also cater to a number of learning styles, and have developed their own ‘Entertainment Immersion Method®’ “based on how children naturally acquire language.”
By understanding your preferred learning styles, learning a new language can be made much easier – no matter what your age.
Do you know what your learning style is? What activities help you learn French? This conversation is missing your voice! Add your comments in the box provided below.References
1. ‘Overview of learning styles’ via Learning Styles Online.
2. ’Active and Mulitsensory approaches’, via Language without Limits.
3. Keren Perles, ‘Identifying Learning Modalities: Characteristics of Visual, Auditory, and Kinesthetic Learners’, via Bright hub education Image Credits
1. Paris by Moyan Brenn, via Flickr.
2. Books in Possession by Alan Alfaro, via Flickr.
3. My French Life Soirée 13/03/12 by MyFrenchLife, via Facebook.
4. Mindmap by Maxim Saltanov, via Wikimedia Commons.
5. Working at SIBL (the Science, Industry, and Business Library) today by Amit Gupta, via Flickr.